Small schools worried by plan

SMALL schools in the Northern Rivers face an uncertain future, according to president of the Northern Rivers NSW District Council of P&Cs Stuart Amos.

Mr Amos said the State Government's discussion paper on rural and remote schools outlined a plan to change the role of principals at schools with less than 160 students (PP5 and PP6 schools).

"If implemented, the proposal would require parents, staff, students and community members to deal with a 'co-ordinating principal' in a larger off-site school," he said.

Mr Amos said there could be a reclassification of principals to that of "leading teacher" and a move to a spoke and hub model, where small schools would become one of several "spokes" to the larger school's "hub".

"The small schools would lose autonomy, independence, financial control and their identity," he said.

Mr Amos has organised a small schools conference at Byron Bay Community Centre tomorrow, where speakers from the Education Department, Teachers Federation and the NSW Federation of P&C Associations will discuss a range of issues faced by small schools.

"We have great small schools in this region and we need the P&Cs to show a strong front. Schools like Goonengerry and Wilsons Creek are great for their community but there is the potential we could lose them or the principals' autonomy to run them," Mr Amos said.

A representative for the Education Department denied any suggestion principals would be reclassified as leading teachers.

Documents outlining new classifications and structures for schools from 2016-2021 were provided, showing PP5 and PP6 principals would be classified as teaching principals.

 

Get involved

The Smalls Schools Conference will be held at the Byron Bay Community Centre tomorrow 10am-4pm.